Our two adult children and their families alternately spend either Thanksgiving or Christmas with us in the desert. Like any large gathering of divergent personalities and ages there is usually one major meltdown per visit. Certainly not unexpected when the quiet lives of two people are catapulted into the fast-paced, high octane energy of our respective families.
But I’m getting much better now.
This year our Thanksgiving rendezvous entailed the now familiar daily trips to Ralphs for more milk, reverberating children’s screams across the fairway and as always enough trash to fill a Brooklyn landfill. New this year were art classes, shooting off rockets on the golf course at night (don’t tell anyone) and learning the fine art of poker. Like an Emo band of the Eighties, our ten days together corralled the divergent personalities of five grandchildren and funneled their atomic energy into exciting memories for all of us.
First day, first thing, the kids had to pick lemons for making lemonade. It’s become a tradition much like ‘Morning Coffee with Papa; one kid per morning.’
This year’s addition to the multitude of pool toys was a unicorn curtsey of the McMahons.
It was a tremendous hit and actually lasted the entire week without succumbing to the brutal onslaught on five over-eager pirates. Pool time lasted the better part of most days and included diving for torpedoes, tumbling down the slide, balancing on boggy boards and doing laps for the mystery treat Nana always provided each afternoon.
|Calm before the storm|
|Walking on water again|
|Afternoon snack time|
|Maya would rather work on her book|
|Exhausted after swimming all day|
Our annual family photo session was taken up by the Chino Cone; a spectacular gateway point to the city.
Another tradition for our family meals is the power of the crystal bell. Each meal one child is allowed to ring the crystal bell before the meal and saying grace. With it comes the power to seat people for that particular meal. With the exception of Papa who is always seated at the end of the table, the kids got to choose who sat where.
Afternoon and evening activities included art classes, chess, reading and new this year, learning the fine art of poker. The kids picked up the game and the excitement of their nickel bets like Vegas backroom pros. Nana could not have been prouder. It brought back many wonderful memories of her own family playing the game.
Brian and Scott took me to the newest attraction in town, 'the High Bar' at the Rowen Hotel downtown. The views were spectacular, the ambiance pure plastic and the prices not to be believed. But, wait! I’m dating myself.
Melanie took me to Starbuck’s newest reconfiguration of a coffee shop called ‘The Reserve.’ Great coffee, slow service and holiday tourists eager to be part of the hipster scene. Once again, my age betrays me; call it learned experience.
The recurring question that week, as in years past, was always ‘How is Papa holding up?’
I did manage to steal away some quiet moments amid the storm of activities. I spent a week with my kids and grandchildren. It was close, intimate times with the ones I love. It was creating memories for those young expanding minds that I hope will last a lifetime.
I am exhausted but yeah, I did OK.